The Brewmasters Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food

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Snobbery is in the eye of the beer holder. Your mileage may vary. Regardless of whether you agree with Oliver on his likes and recommendations, and though it is old in terms of modern craft, this is still a good addition to the toolbox. Sep 20, Geoff Young rated it really liked it. Useful compendium on beer styles and food pairings. Author is very knowledgeable about subject, often augmenting information with good stories and beautiful photographs. San Diego breweries are woefully underrepresented, although this makes sense given time frame.

Again, this is understandable given that much of what we think of as beer culture comes from Europe. Among As Useful compendium on beer styles and food pairings. Among Asian cuisines, only Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian receive much coverage. As a matter of personal taste I am far more likely to eat yukgaejang or pancit than foie gras or carbonade flamande.

That being said, conceptual frameworks provided by author can be applied to any foods. It requires a little more effort from reader, which ultimately may not be a bad thing. To use a beer analogy, it's malt-forward, with insufficient hops to keep it from becoming cloying. These are first-world problems, I know.

Discovering The Pleasures Of Real Beer With Real Food

Book could use an update, but even as is, it provides a tremendous resource for anyone interested in beer, food, and pairings. I'm sure I'll be referring to it often. Jul 13, Xenothaulus rated it it was amazing.


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This book has really changed my appreciation for beer and food. Jul 25, Derek Hale rated it it was amazing. There is no one in the world that I would rather listen to talk about the wide, wide world of beer than Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garret Oliver. Oliver is a fount of knowledge when it comes to the topic. Turns out he is also an accomplished author and raconteur, as is proven by The Brewmaster's Table: My biggest criticism of most beer books is that they attempt to do too many things in one book.

Pick up almost any recent book on the subject There is no one in the world that I would rather listen to talk about the wide, wide world of beer than Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garret Oliver. The Brewmaster's Table falls into some of the same patterns, it just happens to do them better than the others.

And it has the added benefit of linking everything back into the realm of pairing beer with food.

The Brewmaster's Table

This last point is a crucial one. The popular conception of beer at least in America is that it is the beverage of choice for simpletons, best suited for tailgating, backyard barbecues, and frat parties. Wine is a sophisticated beverage of choice to be imbibed while dining, especially during fine dining.

Oliver's thesis is that, although wine is a sublime beverage, it has a limited range when it comes to pairing with food. Beer can do it all. One can easily find multiple beers that pair beautifully with Mexican, barbecue, Thai, Indian, Cajun, Middle Eastern, and all points beyond. And all of those non-macro beers are dying to be paired with your favorite foods. If you've read Randy Mosher's classic Tasting Beer or one of Beerhunter Michael Jackson's books and are looking to go further up and further into the world of beer, The Brewmaster's Table is a logical next step.

Oh, what a glorious thing it is to find a guide as knowledgedable and enthusiastic as this to a subject so vital and potentially confusing! For serious beer lovers of all ages this book is a treasure of information and inspiration: All along the way he writes with a warm, familiar voice, peppering his prose with historical tidbits, personal anecdotes, and lots of info about beer. It would be hard to imagine a more complete or enjoyable beer education contained between two covers.

At times Oliver can be a little too enthusiastic about his beloved beverage, and he can't seem to restrain himself from making snide little digs at wine aficionados every dozen pages or so. He definitely knows he is preaching to the choir, but effuses there is no other word for it about the perfection of every food-beer pairing with a fervent zeal that is impressive and genuine but also a bit comical after a couple hundred pages of it.

If you love beer in all its beautiful varitey, then you should defintiely own this book. If you don't, keep this in mind for the beer-lover on your next gift list. Jan 30, Andrew rated it it was amazing Shelves: A review on the jacket describes this as a "delightfully erudite tome". Erudite is really the perfect adjective to encapsulate the spirit of this book. Garrett Oliver has a passion for beer that borders on hedonistic.

If your are able to stick with him, it's a passion that quickly becomes infectious. But be warned, this is not a book to be taken lightly. It is not simply a guide to beer and food as the name might imply, it is an encyclopedia of beer, a veritable beer appreciation course in a boo A review on the jacket describes this as a "delightfully erudite tome".

It is not simply a guide to beer and food as the name might imply, it is an encyclopedia of beer, a veritable beer appreciation course in a book. Stylistically, there is a certain amount of repetition from section to section, so one does better to take the book in small chunks. Some may find Oliver's descriptions of beers pretentious, but personally I found them poetic. How else can one describe the sensation of eating or drinking without poetry? No two people can experience food or drink the same way, so there is no point in being dry and pragmatic.

After all, this book is about the joy of beer not the formula. I've enjoyed beer for a long time, but I can honestly say that after this book I am a changed man. I feel as though I have a solid understanding of all the styles of beer being brewed, who the major producers are domestically and abroad, and how best to pair their brews with food.

It's been a joy to share Oliver's passion. If you are a beer drinker, and looking to expand your knowledge on your beverage of choice, you really can't do better than this book. Aug 05, Robert rated it it was amazing. Although it took two attempts separated by over a year for me to read the entirety of The Brewmaster's Table, it was time very well spent. Garrett Oliver has written the best book I've read on beer and food pairing. In addition, it's a fantastic introduction to how beer is made, including in depth discussions of the most important styles.

If you're not a huge fan of beer, I recommend initially reading it quickly. The parts to skim quickly are the stories about the breweries that produce exemplars Although it took two attempts separated by over a year for me to read the entirety of The Brewmaster's Table, it was time very well spent. The parts to skim quickly are the stories about the breweries that produce exemplars of each style.

Then, use the book as a reference when you decide you're ready to learn more about a specific beer style. Otherwise, I think the size of the book would be too daunting for the less serious fan. One thing I didn't get was his repeated attacks on pairing wine with food. If you haven't had good wine with good food before, you might walk away thinking that the best wine pairings to most foods are just okay, and that there are only a few great pairings.

While I do generally find it easier to pair beer with food, I've also had many great pairings of wine with food.

The Brewmaster's Table - Garrett Oliver - Paperback

Beer does have significant advantages in the wider variety of aroma, flavor, body, sourness lots to none , bitterness, and alcohol content. When my long threatened app for beer and food pairing is complete, there will be no doubt that it was influenced by ideas in The Brewmaster's Table. Apr 15, A-ron rated it really liked it. My feelings for this book are a bit mixed. It was a lively read and Garrent Oliver's passion for beer propels this book forward on every page. It's that same passion that keeps this book from being great. He's almost too in love with beer.

Seemingly, every combination is amazing. From his constant defensiveness of beer's food- friendliness, it seems that Garret has spent many hours of his life arguing with wine lovers over the merits of beer, which is fine, but I don't need him to claim that bee My feelings for this book are a bit mixed. From his constant defensiveness of beer's food- friendliness, it seems that Garret has spent many hours of his life arguing with wine lovers over the merits of beer, which is fine, but I don't need him to claim that beer is better than wine on every paragraph.

He deeply explores the history and flavors of a variety of styles I can't think of any glaring omissions and gives great, but limited recommendations of what fits with each. I thought the book was a bit Brooklyn Brewery-centric, but this is liberty granted when the author is its brewmaster.

I'm not a huge fan of his beers, but he clearly has a fine palate and his love for beer is certainly contagious. It is not a user-friendly reference consulting important questions of what works involves many pages of reading. Real beer is now available almost everywhere, yet most people are familiar only with bland mass-market beer.

Have you tasted the real thing? Real beer has complex flavors -- it's an affordable luxury that can transform everyday meals from dull to extraordinary. Whether it's a brightly citric Belgian wheat beer with a goat cheese salad, a sharply aromatic pale ale to complement spicy tacos, an earthy German bock beer to match a porcini risotto, a rich, strong Trappist ale with a hanger steak, or even a fruity framboise to accompany a slice of chocolate truffle cake, the right beer is a perfect partner to any dining experience.

Garrett Oliver shows you how to make it happen, whether you're at home on Tuesday night, in a restaurant for Sunday brunch, or on vacation in Europe. In many ways, the brewmaster is more like a chef than he is like a winemaker. If the beer turns out poorly, he cannot shrug his shoulders and claim it was a bad year.


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  • A fine beer is not a discovery or simply a part of nature, but a work of art: Brewing is also hard work. There are no easy sun-filled days of dancing in woven baskets - you can dance on the barley all you want, but it has no juice to yield up. The brewer must work to loosen its grip on the essential ingredient - sugar.

    Anyone who seeks to create an alcoholic beverage must have sugar to ferment. Grapes have their own sugar, but barley is packed with starch, which must be converted into sugar in order to make beer. This process starts with the mash, where starches are converted into a sweet liquid called the wort pronounced "wert". The wort is collected in a kettle, where the bitterness, flavor, and aroma of the hops are extracted into the wort by boiling. The hopped wort is then chilled and sent into a fermentation vessel where yeast is added and works its wonders, transforming homely sweet wort into beer.

    Sounds simple, doesn't it? In some ways, it is.

    The Brewmaster's Table

    There are many details along the way that will determine how the beer will turn out. Join me now on a journey from grain to glass as we unlock the mystery and art of brewing. First, let's have a look at the ingredients. Every journey must begin with a single step; and when it comes to beer, that first step is malting the barley. Barley Hordeum vulgare is a tall, tawny-colored grass with a seed head on top of its stalk. A field of barley looks a lot like a wheat field. For the brewer, barley has special gifts that other grains cannot offer.